A North Carolina school district has equipped every school with an AR-15 rifle in an attempt to ward off mass shootings

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North Miami Police Department take part in an active shooter drill at North Miami Senior High on July 24, 2018.Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
  • A North Carolina school system gave its six schools AR-15 rifles to protect against mass shooters.

  • The guns were added after a horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children dead.

  • "I want my guys to be as prepared as prepared can be," Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood said.

A North Carolina school system has given AR-15 rifles to every school in an effort to protect kids against mass shooters, according to a report from the Asheville Citizen-Times.

"We were able to put an AR-15 rifle and safe in all of our schools in the county," Madison County Sheriff Buddy Harwood told the Citizen-Times. "We've also got breaching tools to go into those safes. We've got extra magazines with ammo in those safes."

Six elementary, middle, and high schools were given a rifle, ammo, and a safe, Harwood said.

The guns were added to the schools following the devastating school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in May. Police said the gunman killed 19 children and two adults in the shooting.

"Those officers were in that building for so long, and that suspect was able to infiltrate that building and injure and kill so many kids," Harwood said. "I just want to make sure my deputies are prepared in the event that happens."

"The reason we put the breaching tools in the safes is that in the event we have someone barricaded in a door, we won't have to wait on the fire department to get there," Harwood added. "We'll have those tools to be able to breach that door if needed. I do not want to have to run back out to the car to grab an AR, because that's time lost. Hopefully, we'll never need it, but I want my guys to be as prepared as prepared can be."

So far in 2022, there have been 27 school shootings, according to Education Week's tracker. In 2021, there were 34 school shootings. And this year, the number of school shootings is rapidly creeping up and could easily surpass last year's figure.

Following the Uvalde shooting, four companies that manufacture bulletproof gear told Insider they have seen more customers searching for and purchasing bulletproof backpacks since a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Texas.

The manufacturers, however, noted that the presence of some of the bulletproof gear might scare parents.

Harwood told the Citizen-Times he believes the guns and ammo are necessary to protect students in the event of a shooting.

"I hate that we've come to a place in our nation where I've got to put a safe in our schools, and lock that safe up for my deputies to be able to acquire an AR-15. But, we can't shut it off and say it won't happen in Madison County, but we never know," he said. "I want the parents of Madison County to know we're going to take every measure necessary to ensure our kids are safe in this school system. If my parents, as a whole, want me to stand at that door with that AR strapped around that officer's neck, then I'm going to do whatever my parents want as a whole to keep our kids safe."

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